Nano-optics for nanochemistry in catalytic processes

Lead Research Organisation: University of Cambridge
Department Name: Physics


New catalytic processes are a crucial part of our economies, demanding improvements in efficiency (reduced energy and raw materials costs), selectivity (reduced waste), and sustainability (managing key and rare resources such as noble metals). Vibrational spectroscopies, such as Raman spectroscopy are some of the most powerful techniques for molecular sensing, however only ensembles of catalyst particles can be investigated so far. This project aims to study single catalyst particles using enhanced Raman spectroscopy. The goal is to watch in real time how molecules undergo chemical reactions directly, how they explore the different ways they can come together, interact and eventually form a bond, and ideally we would like to influence this so that we can select just a single product of interest. One way this will be explored is using an incredibly tiny test tube, a barrel-shaped 1 nm wide molecule called capped with gold nanoparticles, which traps light to the nanoscale. In collaboration with NPL we will also explore tip-enhanced Raman spectroscopy from the surface of a single catalyst where reactions are taking place.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/N509103/1 01/10/2015 31/03/2021
1645929 Studentship EP/N509103/1 01/10/2015 30/09/2020 Cloudy Carnegie